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A compact rarebit test for macular diseases

Abstract

Background Rarebit testing implies probing for gaps in the neuro-retinal receptive field matrix, using bright microdots on a dark background. Previous reports have found rarebit testing useful for the detection of macular lesions. In its original implementation, the test requires darkroom facilities and a long test distance (2 m).

Methods A self-contained rarebit test device was realised using a modified miniature data projector driven by a laptop computer. Its performance was assessed in normal subjects and in patients with advanced age-related macular degeneration.

Results Normal subjects (N=49) produced test results very similar to those reported for the original rarebit fovea test. The patient group (N=12) performed significantly worse. The reproducibility was good, and the mean test time was 142 s.

Conclusion The new test allows portable rarebit testing for neuro-macular damage, without the need for a darkroom. It may prove useful for screening for early age-related macular degeneration.

  • Central vision
  • vision test
  • rarebit
  • fovea
  • macular degeneration
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